Monday, June 25, 2012

The Next Steps

To those of you that don't know me very well, I'll let you in on a little secret.  I'm a planner and I'm beginning to think it's somewhat of a compulsion.  I'm never content to just "be" in the moment,  I'm always thinking about the future, be it my next race, the next job, or what I'm going to do next year.  It's a bit ridiculous.   Right now, I should probably be mapping out my training plan for NYC and working on finessing my friend Kirsten's half marathon training plan.  But what am I doing instead?

Thinking about next summer.

Seriously?  This summer has barely just started and I'm already on fast forward to next summer.  Typical.

What specifically am I thinking about, you may wonder.  Ah.  There's the rub.

I'm thinking about running through the woods for a very long time.  Perhaps here or here.  I'm contemplating running a 50km trail race.  My first choice would be the Sulphur Springs race at the end of May and that might be the most ideal time as I will be coming off Boston in mid-April.  My concern, and it may seem silly, is that I might not like it.  With a road race, especially a marathon, there are usually a lot of people around.  Trail races tend to be smaller so it would stand to reason that there are less people around.  Given that they are run on trails in the woods, that also means that there are generally very few spectators.  I don't know about you but during a marathon, I need that human contact, that support, even if it's from one single person standing by the side of the road clapping.   So perhaps the smarter thing to do would be to do the 25km and see what I think.  OR, perhaps I whet my appetite with some shorter races in the 5 Peaks Series and then tackle the longer distances in 2014.  That might be the smarter thing to do.  And of course, these are all just thoughts, I've yet to commit to anything. 
I've run one trail race and that was last summer.  It was the Rattlesnake Point Sport Course in the 5 Peaks Series.  It was fun but man was it tough.  That particular course is very technical.  Lots of rocks and tree roots so there was a lot of jumping, leaping and scrambling vs. actual running.   My heart was in my throat for most of the run and I'm sure my eyes were like saucers in my head.  Open big, wide and round.  I'm not even sure I blinked at all come to think of it.  It was such a different experience than road racing.  When I'm running on the road, I get into a groove and I tend to relax and get tunnel vision.  On the trail I felt like I was hyper aware of everything around me.   All of my senses were on overdrive.   It was amazing.  I tried to figure out if I could get any more trail races in last summer but I couldn't manage it.  I hoped that perhaps this summer I might get the chance to do another couple of races but given the other races I want to do and the goals that I've set for my fall season, well, I may just have to wait till next year.  I'm ok with that, it gives me something else to plan for.


Do you plan out your races in advance or do you just train and then wing it?

Have you ever done a trail race?  If not, do you plan on doing one?


(photo credit: Phaedra Kennedy)
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